Preeclampsia May Lead to Decreased Insulin Sensitivity

Researchers urge physicians to consider reproductive history when assessing patients

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women with a history of preeclamptic pregnancy respond to increased visceral fat in an enhanced insulin-resistant manner that may be associated with impaired vasodilatation. Also, early-onset preeclampsia is associated with impaired insulin sensitivity later in life, according to the results of a study released online June 23 in advance of publication in the August issue of Hypertension.

Katja H. Lampinen M.D., of Helsinki University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, and colleagues studied 28 non-obese women with previous severe preeclampsia and 20 women with a previous normotensive pregnancy between five and six years after the index pregnancy.

Although the researchers observed no significant group differences in insulin sensitivity, they found that insulin sensitivity was related to vasodilation only in the preeclamptic group. They also found that current waist-hip ratio and serum triglycerides had the most significant effect on insulin sensitivity in the preeclamptic group, and that current decreased insulin sensitivity was associated with the severity and gestational weeks at the onset of preeclampsia (diastolic blood pressure and earlier onset of proteinuria and hypertension).

"Gradually, in years after preeclampsia, increasing weight and visceral fat add to the risk for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease," the authors conclude. "Primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in this group of women is a realistic perspective and should be undertaken, and reproductive history needs to be considered when dealing with cardiovascular medicine."

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